Philadelphia 76ers: Setting expectations for Game 7 vs. Toronto Raptors

Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

What should fans expect as the Philadelphia 76ers travel north for Game 7?

Before we all jump to any hard and fast conclusions, let take a moment to reason together. The fact of the matter is that Game 7 will only determine one thing: the winner of the series.

You see, there is no shame in losing a Game 7 in the second round of the playoffs. It means you pushed your opponent to the brink of their ability—and they did the same to you. It means you left everything you had on the court, and then some. It means the fans experienced exuberant highs and devastating lows, all in the same series.

Frankly, the second round of the playoffs is where the pretenders have already been wiped away in the previous series, and those teams that came for a championship show up to play. Yes, the Philadelphia 76ers were put away in five last year, as was Boston in five this year, but by in large, the second round gives us what we expect—the eight best teams in the league fighting for supremacy.

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There are so many things to be determined before we should begin to speculate on next season. But here are a few things we know must happen Sunday, or Philadelphia will start the speculation earlier than we all hope.

Philadelphia must not fall behind in the first quarter

It would be preferred if they could get ahead; it would be accepted if they were neck and neck. However, under no circumstances can Philly fall behind in the opening quarter. If they fall behind by double digits, on the road to the Kawhis, the game is over before halftime.

The trend for this series has been the team leading at the end of the first quarter wins the game; maybe this is the game that bucks the trend, but I wouldn’t chance it— get ahead by the end of the first, Philly.

Ben Simmons must drive the ball early and often

Ben, deferred, is not fun to watch. Even if Ben has to take a charge call early, he needs to get himself in the correct headspace early and run someone over.

There is much the consider in the psychology of a Coach who takes a Technical Foul to raise the intensity of his team, and the same can be said with certain players firing out of the gates. If Ben comes out of the stables like an emoji bull on fire, the Sixers’ chances of moving on rise dramatically.

Brett Brown must resolve to make Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol beat them

Ben guards Kawhi—easy. Jimmy comes and helps from time to time to ensure every Klaw shot is contested, but his primary job is watching Lowry. Danny Green will not single handedly beat Philly.

However, Embiid must be allowed to roam the paint, keeping his peripheral on Siakam. If the Sixers are going home tomorrow, it needs to because Pascal Siakam had the game of his career— then you can admit they were the better team that night. Give Gasol space; give Siakam a little space, and live with the results.

The aftermath

If Philadelphia wins, you can pretty much book Jimmy Butler’s return.
Brett Brown’s fate doesn’t rest on a win or a loss here; it depends on the showing they put out. If they get maimed again, like Game 5, my next article will be about potential head coaches. If they lose respectably, I expect to see Brown on the sideline next season.

No matter what, Game 7 should be entertain, if nothing else. Both teams are talented, proud, and hungry—this is what you want when it’s win or go home.

Next. 3 keys to winning Game 7 on the road. dark

What do you see as keys to victory in Game 7? Do you agree with any of mine? Let me know in the comments.